The fact remains that we live in a very litigious society and it is the job of professional liability risk advisors to make architects aware of the risks they face and suggest coverage to protect their financial interests. Lawsuits are filed every day in every part of the country and it’s quite possible that a person could receive a demand letter or be named in a lawsuit concerning their professional services as an architect.
Understanding and becoming familiar with the most common types of claims made against insureds may help in recognizing and hopefully avoiding getting caught up in similar situations. The most common claims made against architects include breach of contract, negligence, and bodily injury and property damage.
Architects are inherently burdened with risk and liability for the services they provide. As licensed professionals they are legally responsible for structures they have designed. However, there are times when a project could go awry, which is why professional liability insurance is needed. Should an error or omission in the design process occur, a client could sue if there are damages. The professional liability policy will respond in this case both with defense coverage and indemnification if the architect is found liable.
Generally, the courts generally look to whether the architect owed a duty to the individual suffering damages and whether or not they breached that duty, causing all or a portion of the loss.
Having sufficient insurance coverage will protect the individual employed architect
The firm’s professional liability insurance policy should provide adequate protection for the firm, principals, employees, etc. However, in the event that a potentially greater risk or exposure exists, due to the nature of the work and other risk management considerations, the firm may wish to consider increasing its maximum limits of coverage. Professional liability risk advisors can be valuable in assessing how much exposure may actually exist based on the scope of the work being performed and how much coverage is required.